Let’s get this out of the way now: all of the participants at the 2012 Los Angeles Design Challenge deserve a ton credit for the concept vehicles they designed. Mercedes deserves a huge chuck of credit for actually building a real-scale Ener-G-Force and bringing it to the LA Auto Show.
Unfortunately, there was only room for one winner, and that winner is Subaru’s Highway Automated Response Concept.
As a futuristic concept for what Subaru deems as “24-hour highway monitoring for Hawaii’s highway patrol,” the SHARC Concept captured the essence of this year’s theme best. It’s the smallest of all the concept vehicles, but still retains great functionality, an awesome design, and uses renewable energy. For achieving this delicate balance, the SHARC Concept was deemed as the best of them all.
"The SHARC captured the vision of the Design Challenge theme by combining functionality and problem-solving technology around a dynamic and plausible story," Design LA’s Chuck Pelly said.
Subaru designed the SHARC highway patrol vehicle to provide the kind of innovative, affordable and environmentally conscious solution for 24-hour highway monitoring, protection, and rapid emergency response in Hawaii, all while adhering to the state’s strict UltraGreen carbon-neutral environmental regulations.
It’s unlikely that we’ll see the SHARC as an actual production vehicle in the near future — maybe the distant future — but that’s getting ahead of ourselves. It does, however, give us a vision of what the future could look like in law enforcement.
Hints have already been dropped about the future of the Lamborghini Urus SUV as a production model. While the Italian automaker appears to be inclined to send the Urus to production, it’s in no rush to do so.
That much was made clear by Lambo CEO, Stephan Winkelmann, during a recent talk with Auto Express. “The Urus isn’t an immediate priority and won’t happen until 2017 at the earliest," Winkelmann said, before adding, "To be honest, we don’t need it right now, as we have plenty of new cars available that are selling well and will continue to sell well.”
That’s the rub for Lamborghini. While some of its peers have enjoyed relative success with their own SUVs, Lamborghini, like Ferrari, probably isn’t as enthusiastic about building an SUV, particularly because it’s always packaged itself as the ultimate supercar manufacturer. On top of that, its new flagship exotic, the Aventador, has been a hit in the public and future variants are all in the pipeline, including a GT model, a Super Veloce model, a Superleggera, and who knows knows how many custom one-offs will be made based on the supercar similar to the Aventador J.
So yeah, if you’ve been waiting with baited breath to know when the Urus SUV will head to production, you might have to hold that breath for a little while longer.
The biggest appeal Fisker has over its competitors in the market is the fact that it runs on electricity. But what good is it if your cars don’t have batteries in them?
Fisker found that out first-hand after the company in charge of manufacturing its batteries recently filed for bankruptcy, thus leading to the company suspending production the Karma, its $100,000 luxury plug-in hybrid.
There should come a point in time when Fisker’s sole battery supplier, A123 Systems, gets its books straightened out, but the concern for Fisker is the time being wasted waiting for manna to drop from the heavens in the form of either getting some financial assistance from the feds or a buyer stepping into the picture and purchasing the battery manufacturer outright.
Either scenario could take long time, especially considering that A123 has already gotten some federal support in the past, thus giving the latter the provision to give the green light on any potential buyer in the future.
Whatever the case may be, this new development came at the worst possible time for Fisker, particularly because the Karma’s debut in China could be delayed. We all know how big the Chinese market is and how many eager Chinese people are to plunk down money to get behind the wheel of an electric sports car.
With A123 Systems currently in bankruptcy, Fisker apparently has no other choice than to temporarily suspend production of the Karma.
Here’s to hoping that everything gets straightened out and everyone involved can return to regular business.
When it unveiled the X5 back in the ’90s, BMW broke the tradition of rolling out every Bimmer with a Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) architecture, from Munich. Even though the X5’s power was transferred to all four wheels, it hadn’t lost the dynamics that BMW were famous for. It brought a delicate mix of BMW’s renowned handling with a dash off-road prowess – the perfect recipe. The fact that it wasn’t RWD never really affected the sales of the X5, which later spawned into a series of SUVs that are selling well in the market today.
BMW expects the same transition to happen to its future range of cars, which will sport its front-wheel-drive architecture – internally known as the UKL platform.
UKL is slated to underpin 12 new models that BMW will roll out in the near future, as well as Mini’s range of vehicles. This FWD architecture helps BMW compete in the emerging segment of premium compact vehicles that has spawned cars like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the Audi A3.
Though BMW is breaking tradition once again, it promises that front-wheel-drive setup will not compromise BMW’s dynamics of ride and handling, which it has fine-tuned successfully over the years. We would love to find out whether that promise is kept but, unfortunately, it’s a long wait before BMW releases the first model riding atop the UKL platform.
So what are your thoughts on this platform? Is it right for BMW to adopt it or is it a step too far from the traditional RWD? Let us know in the comments section.
Thought to be impossible to pull off by many skeptics, it seems that engineers at the Fiat Megafactory are now celebrating with a nice bottle of the champagne (we guess). Why the celebration, you ask? The factory rolled out a Lounge version of a funky white Fiat 500 that is powered by Fiat’s 1.2L 67bhp engine. And, apparently, this 500 happened to be the one millionth example that Fiat has built, since launch in 2007. Skeptics couldn’t believe the fact that an overtly costly, two door hatch pulled-off the feat in 5 years.
The Fiat 500, since launch, was surprisingly a success for the Italian giant. Thanks to the 500, Fiat managed to grab around 13.9% market share in the European market. The following year Fiat managed to sell a record breaking 186,000 units. This is an impressive feat considering the fact that the original Fiat 500, while selling 3.4 million units till end of production at ’75, managed to take four years to sell 180,000 units.
The key selling points of this little hot hatch is its ease of driving around and the plethora of customization by Fiat themselves that the customer can opt for, making each Fiat 500 a unique example.
Do you think the Fiat can sell even more of the 500, say 1.5 million or (we are stretching here) 2 million units? Let us know in the comments section
The gold-painted Nissan GT-R Usain Bolt Edition is headed to auction, but this time, Nissan’s not going for the usual setup. Instead, it’s bringing the car to eBay where interested folks can have a chance to make a bid for the car.
The auction will run from November 22nd to December 2nd, 2012 and, according to Nissan, the winning bidder will have the car built specifically to conform to regulations in the bidder’s area. Delivery date has been scheduled for March 2013.
In addition to the "Bolt Gold" GT-R, which predictably is the crown jewel of the auction, Nissan will also auction off a number of other Bolt-signed items, including clothes and racing helmets. All of the proceeds from the auction will be given to the Usain Bolt Foundation, a charity that the record-setting sprinter established to lend support, and give educational and cultural opportunities to young kids in Jamaica.
It certainly goes without saying that the event holds special meaning to the Olympic champion’s heart, particularly because the people that it will benefit are young children from his home country. "This project excites me because it brings together my passion for speed and excellence, and my desire to help kids and young people," Bolt said.
So if you’re interested in owning a one-of-a-kind GT-R and knowing that the money you paid for it will go to a worthy cause, this is the auction for you.
At this point, we don’t know what’s going on with the Bugatti Galibier. Last we heard, it was being significantly altered because the higher-ups at Bugatti didn’t like its design, but that’s not important right now.
What’s important now is Bugatti’s recently announced 1,600-horsepower SuperVeyron – a car that first made headlines a few weeks ago when the French automaker released some information on it. The latest to come out about the SuperVeyron is that it will make its world debut next year at the 2013 IAA Motor Show.
Jens Schulenburg, Bugatti’s chief vehicle engineer, recently told Autocar about the challenges of building what is essentially the ultimate Veyron. “The big challenge will be reducing weight, Schulenburg said. "We are looking at some incredible technologies, such as wheels made entirely from carbon fiber. We’re considering hybrids, too.”
Bugatti is looking at shaving almost 550 pounds off of the Veyron Super Sport’s body while developing the SuperVeyron. We also expect Bugatti to bore out its existing 8.0-liter W-16 engine to a 9.6-liter displacement, which will help bump the SuperVeyron’s output to 1,600 horsepower. These extra ponies will net the newest Veyron a 1.8-second 0-to-60 mph time and a top speed that’s expected to reach 288 mph.
Should the SuperVeyron live up to the growing hype it’s been generating, a lot of people could end up forgetting that the Galibier even exists. At least until Bugatti decides to release that model.
We’ll keep an eye on this situation and bring you updates as Bugatti releases more info.
UPDATE 11/19/2012: Unfortunately, we don’t have any new information to bring you, but we have just released our first rendering for the upcoming Bugatti SuperVeyron. Enjoy!
For all of the esteem Ferrari receives as one of the most famous automakers in the world, you can’t deny the fact that it also has a soft spot for aiding those in need. We remember Ferrari auctioning off a 599XX Evo some months ago to raise money to help those affected by earthquakes in Italy.
Recently, the Italian supercar manufacturer put on their generosity hat once more by auctioning off the first U.S.-Spec Ferrari F12berlinetta to aid those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
With great interest in the car, seeing as it’s the first U.S.-spec F12 to be released, the auction ended up being a tremendous success with a winning bid of $1.125 million, a sum paid for by Long Island resident, Larry Roth. The amount, together with donations made by Ferrari dealers, clients and friends amounting to $345,000, will all be donated to the Red Cross.
It’s a testament to Ferrari’s social and civic awareness that it can have an auction like this to help out people in need. Credit is due to Mr. Roth, too. He dug deep into his pockets to scoop up the F12. He might have to wait for the supercar, though, as delivery of the model isn’t expected until the middle of next year.
Not a lot of people know that yesterday, November 15, was actually Guinness Book of World Records day. What better way to get a little extra notoriety than setting a record on a day that celebrates people setting records?
German automaker MINI knows a thing or two about records, so do you think that it’d let a day like this pass without attempting to set a few of its own?
First record up was fitting the most number of people into a Mini Cooper hatchback. Last year’s record of 27 was inevitably thrown to the wayside after Mini somehow managed to shoehorn 28 - yes, 28! - people inside the Cooper. Four of those 28 people somehow fit inside the trunk.
On top of that, Mini also managed to have 23 of these same people to fit inside a classic Mini, a car that’s significantly smaller than the modern model that’s out on the market today. That beat the old record of 21 people.
We really don’t know why these records are important other than being pretty useful trivia questions in a future drinking session with your buddies. But hey, it was the Guinness Book of World Records day, and everyone, Mini included, should be excused for trying to put their names on the record books - even for something as odd as these records.
At least they didn’t try to set wearing the most underwear in one sitting like some people did.
Click past the jump to see the video wrap-up of the day’s events, including the Mini record. Full story
Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann is not one to mince his words. The man is a straight shooter, and when he says that the supercar industry could be in for a rough 2013, people should take notice.
Recently, the outspoken Winkelmann was quoted during a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore saying "We are very cautious for next year. The Europe crisis is not over."
The Lambo head is referring to the European economic crisis that has put a stranglehold on the region and is expected to continue to do so at least until 2015. This crisis will inevitably lead to a whole lot of casualties, which could include high-end supercars that aren’t exactly the cheapest automotive purchases out there.
While it does seem that brands like Lamborghini have resigned themselves to slow sales in Europe in the coming years, the Italian automaker isn’t going to sit back and take its lumps. Lamborghini is banking on its expansion into the Asian market to keep its bottom line from, well, bottoming out during this crisis. This Asian expansion includes a second dealership in India, which opened this year, and expansion into Hong Kong and Singapore next year.
The U.S. market is also showing signs of recovery, which helps give Lambo a little hope. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said in Europe, the automaker’s home continent. Gloomy days are in the forecast in that region and that, in turn, could have negative effects on supercar sales.